Things on my mind, November 2022


I went on a walk the other evening and ended up in Corona Heights with this sparkly view of downtown SF. My phone didn’t capture it well, but that’s the moon rising just above the skyline.

As I get older, the past and the future feel a lot less distant from the present. In my mind, the past would usually be rendered in black and white, or sepia tones, or maybe Kodak Gold, and the future in hazy cool shades of blue and gray. But now I feel that the past looked much the same as today, and today’s world looks much the same as I’ll probably see it in a few decades. I look at old photos in museums and merge them into today’s world, or I imagine myself in that time, and it feels very tangible and close.

Recently, I read a short article in the MIT Technology Review, and it resonated with a kind of frustration and underwhelmed-ness I’ve been feeling. It begins: “We used to get excited about technology. What happened?” 

You can read it here: 

I’m not excited by new technology products anymore, and I don’t think I have been for a while. I’m skeptical. It feels like most new tech products are frivolous, useless, complexity for the sake of complexity, a short-lived kind of shininess, recurring revenue streams for the big companies. 

It makes me disappointed to see that even Apple may be starting down the slippery slope of sacrificing the user experience in pursuit of new revenue streams and continued growth. Read:

It feels increasingly difficult to find quality information on the Internet. When I was a little kid, I learned most of what I knew about the world from books I found at the library. Then as I grew older, the Internet became my main source of new knowledge. But nowadays, more often than not, I find myself disappointed when I reach for the Internet to learn about something and come up without much of real value.

One reason: SEO and ad revenue is filling the internet with junk. A good article capturing this issue:

I’m sure there are many other reasons too, like Internet communities moving into closed platforms like Discord rather than open, searchable forums.

I’ve been rediscovering my childhood activity of going to the library and aimlessly browsing the shelves and picking a few books to borrow and read. Where the modern internet disappoints, it turns out that the library is a wealth of content. Books are generally written by knowledgeable people, and have been edited and proofread, and don’t have ads! It’s pretty neat. I still don’t read as much as I probably should, but I’m definitely reading more this year than last year.

Hopefully there’s some value left in the Internet and maybe we shouldn’t just throw it away yet. I very recently discovered Kagi (, a $10/mo search engine that tries to deliver the kind of useful, interesting results I feel like the Old Internet used to give me. The results in their sample queries look really good. I gave them my $10 and am looking forward to properly testing it out and seeing if it lives up to the promises.

There are also some cool niche search engines that try to dig up old blogs and other interesting non-commercial stuff:

I recently read a book about children and it made me realize that I am just a grown-up child. The book is about how to raise your child by understanding their genetically-determined disposition. From the page about activities for a low-extraversion (“Low Ex”) child:

Low Ex children naturally enjoy activities that involve fewer people and that don’t overwhelm them with social stimulation. Building with Legos (or as they get older, model planes or ships), reading, doing puzzles, coloring, playing with toys in their room: give your Low Ex child plenty of options that are individual ways to express their creativity. Other choices that are good for Low Ex children include a trip to the library, or an art museum, or staying home to watch a movie together. There are lots of great sports options that are good for Low Ex children as well. Think golf, tennis, ice skating, rowing, rock climbing, biking – sports that are more individual. These are all great ways to get them active but that do not necessitate their coordinating and working with a big team. Photography is a great hobby for Low Ex children. It allows them to be outside experiencing the world and in the company of others, while still feeling safe and less exposed by being behind a camera. My Low Ex child has always enjoyed being the “photographer” at family events. He can be a part of the group without feeling like he has to be talking with everyone constantly. Other great hobbies for Low Ex children include painting, gardening. or cooking. those are all ways that they can spend time with you, with others, and out in the world, without becoming exhausted by a need for constant social interaction. 

The Child Code, Danielle Dick, Ph.D, page 102

I felt like I had been very clearly identified and called out. I am still a Low Ex child.

There are a bunch of things I’m looking forward to in the coming weeks/months: